Farmers arrested on Chandigarh border

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Chandigarh, Sep 2 (IANS) Hundreds of farmers from Punjab and Haryana were arrested on the Chandigarh-Punjab border Monday while they were holding a protest seeking more rights for agriculturists.

The protesting farmers, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kisan Morcha national president Om Prakash Dhankar, were arrested as they tried to enter Chandigarh to submit a memorandum to the Punjab governor.

The 16 rights of farmers mentioned in the national charter of demands include right in profit of crops, purchase and bonus rights, security rights in times of danger, right to cheap resource-availability, access to farmer-friendly economic organizations and banks, rights to subsidized inputs, and right to maximum loan-limit.

It also includes right to land ownership, right for irrigation of every field, right to seeds, right to the availability of fertilizer and pesticides, right to ownership of agriculture implements, right to uninterrupted power supply for irrigating fields, right to animal feed, right to pension in old age and right to treatment in event of falling ill.

Dhankar also demanded implementation of pro-farmers policies that lie buried in government files, assured source of monthly income to farmers, and promoting pro-farmer policies.

Interacting with media after the arrest of BJP leaders, Kisan Morcha national spokesman Vineet Joshi said that surrendering before the worst economic crisis, farmers are asking for permission to sell their organs to sustain the expenses of their families.

"Except urea, all other inputs in farming are in the control of multinational companies in the market. In the last 15 years, 2.5 lakh farmers have been forced to commit suicide as the paddy and wheat no more remain income-earning crops," Joshi said.

"Land has become the most valuable asset in country. Industrial houses and MNCs are busy creating banks of land, whereas the original owners of land - the farmers - are left bereft of its ownership rights," he said, adding that relief packages for farmers were hardly making things easier for farmers.

He added that farming had not seen any infrastructure development in the past many years, leading to rotting food grain.

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